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Tom Cleaver
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Dunkirk – see it!

July 21, 2017 · in Uncategorized · 34 Comments

Go see Dunkirk. A cinematic masterpiece. Truly a work of art. My screenwriting partner and I walked out just blown away by the thought a mind could conceive it and then carry it out. The slicing and dicing of the timeline is pure genius - each time the point of view changes, it's a different story (the way it should be). As a war historian, as a screenwriter, as someone who has seen war, I liked it on all levels. Be sure to see it on a big screen with a good sound system, since sound is a character in the story. Went to the local good theater with the Barcalounger seating, big screen and great sound, and all was perfect. Came out very inspired as a filmmaker. The story's the star.

34 responses

  1. Going Monday night (fewer 'dumshots' in the audience) at Vmax in St Lukes, here in Auckland , NZ.

    • Posted Tuesday 0300 (approx)

      I just saw it tonite and had no problems with any aspect. The lack of character development was a conscious choice. One of the ending vignette characters said it best, 'Victory is Survival'. And this movie is about little else but Survival. Personally, I suspect most of the issues that some people appear to have with it are two fold: There is none of the "Spielberg" blatant emotional manipulation to make the audience feel for the characters, clearly telling them what to feel (See "War Horse" and "Saving Private Ryan" (second half after the D-Day landing) and secondly Nolan deliberately left out all those "Character Moments" where they swap names, light cigarettes and tell each other their life stories and all about their girl/family/wife/children etc, ad nauseam, so beloved of American film-makers, things that just don't happen in the middle of a battle. So was it any good? Hell, it was sheer Brilliance from go to whoa. You are thrown into the events with the most perfuctory preparation and left to sink or swim, just like the soldiers, airmen and boaties coming to help... and that it works at every level is a small miracle in itself. It never gets jingoistic, not even in the brief epilogue where one of the soldiers gets a paper and reads Churchill's famous address to the House (We shall fight them...etc) to his mates in a hesitant and awkward manner, while they are on a train bound for Woking. (of all places!)

  2. We saw the film yesterday and YES! 100°% awesome! Now I have to make a Spit. MK.I 🙂 - Tom Hardy played an amazing badass extra professional Spit pilot 😀 I loved the aerial scenes. No CGI just good old real planes with lots of V12 howls.

  3. Saw it, thought it was wonderful, I especially liked that finally somebody put on film what I imagine real pilot dialogue would be like, not like most films depicting pilots singing "I was working on the railroad" when the shoot up a train. in other words, nothing cheesy or stupid about this film. However I would advise you to read up a little on this event before seeing it, just so you kind of know what's going on.

  4. Hi Tom

    and thank you for your enthusiastic review. I was planing to wait for the film to be on the webto see it, but since you pointed out that sound and screen were important than I'll probably make a move to the closest cinema in town to see it in good conditions.

    As you know there's a very big debate going on among historians about Hitler's "Haltbefehl" (the order that stopped the german tank divisions before they could enter Dunkirk and capture the allied forces). Some describe it as a demonstration of authority from Hitler to regain control over his generals, notably Rommel and Guderian who had pushed forward with their tanks without orders,

    to other historians its a covert diplomatic peace offer to Britain, (following talks that Goering had with Swedish diplomats in the preceeding weeks ) while some other historians point out the technical weaknesses of the early German tank types, etc ...

    Does the film make any reference to these matters or does Nolan take a position on these questions ?

  5. Anyway I'll definitly go to see it for the pleasure of seing some realistic re enactment of dogfihgts and air raids on naval units. It must have been quite a show and a demonstration of power by the german air force and also their Schnellboats, the torpedo boats that sank so many detroyers.

  6. I think the 109 that is in the trailer is spanish built 109 "Buchon" with the Merlin engine because it has big exhaust pipes on top of the engine and not below as with the Daimler Benz engines

    • Yes - the 109 and the 111 are ex-Spanish.

    • They were filmed in such way that the biggest visual differences between the Spanish and the Originals (the Engines and radiators) were the parts that were less obvious to the viewer. Not hidden but not "in your face". You tended to see the Heinkels from below-rear, above-rear and behind and Messershmitts were either head on or behind. A very good way to keep you in the film, if you know the differences.

  7. I'm goin' this afternoon, actually.

  8. I'm going to make my Marvel superhero movie loving son see it!

    • That's actually the audience Nolan is going for - remind your son it's by Christopher Nolan, writer/director of the Dark Knight Batman trilogy.

  9. I concur it is a true masterpiece! I think it is also time that a war like the Korean War get some attention. There is a lot that can be turned into a blockbuster!

  10. I look forward to seeing it - especially the scenes with aircraft.

    Glad to hear most folks really like it - though that won't influence my opinion. (Once I do see it.)

    Thanks for posting this, Tom. I hadn't heard anything about this movie, so it's a nice surprise.

  11. In addition to what Tom suggests, try to see it in one of the 80 or so theartres showing it on 70mm!

    • Don't feel left out if you don't see IMAX. I went to the local, and the IMAX was $20, and the regular was $10 (for auld pharts). That screen was huge! Seeing in it Row F in a Barcalounger seat, with surround sound, was just fine. This filmmaker was not disappointed. In fact, I was amazed.

  12. Profile Photo
    P.k said on July 24, 2017

    I watched him on Saturday night I am very pleased
    Good movie, no hollywood craps and superheroes.
    I like!

  13. I saw it, and though I knew going in that Nolan had said it's not really a war movie, it was still a bit different than I expected--it was better. The more I reflect on it, especially the artful splicing of the timeline, the more I think it was an exceptional film. Hans Zimmer's subtle, understated musical soundtrack is the perfect complement to the visual suspense and tension. I can't remember another movie that pulls off so many poignant moments with so few words.

  14. I saw the movie today. I thought it was amazing. The way the various stories were woven together was brilliant.

    Spoiler Alert! Don't read any further if you haven't seen the movie!

    Tom, I'm sure you can answer this question: was the sand at Dunkirk actually firm enough for a plane to land wheels down?

    • Well, they did shoot at Dunkirk, so perhaps. As a pilot myself, I would not land on any sandy surface I didn't know personally, to avoid having the airplane do a somersault and end with me trapped inside. To me, the whole sequence is symbolic, which is why he let us see it was really a mockup, when the fire reveals the prop is hanging on a piece of pipe. I think the ending is for people to think about - that's what I got.

  15. Just coming home from cinema. Still speechless. Marvellous!

  16. I went to see it a couple nights ago, and i liked it, though it was not exactly what i was expecting. I still recommend that you go and see it. The formation flying by the Spitfires was great. I have a couple issues with technical aspects (being a pilot and all) but it doesn't detract from the quality of the film. The only other Christopher Nolan film i've seen is "Interstellar" which is another film i liked but didn't fully understand.

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